God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 1st John 4:16
Amen, I say o you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. Matthew 18:1-10
“I’m not a smart man… but I know what love is.” – Forrest Gump
It’s hard to believe that it was almost 20 years ago when I knew (and still know) beyond a shadow of a doubt that God spoke to me.
I had faith back then that I do not have now. I had the faith of a child. I had a faith uncorrupted by the trials of every day life in a world filled to the brim with more seemingly important things than a relationship with My Creator.
I remember quite vividly laying on the top bunk of my bunk bed in my room praying fervently for God to “talk” to me! Prove to me that He was real. Give me a test or give me a vision like he gave some of the prophets in the bible. Do something… ANYTHING in fact to prove to me that he was there!
I lay quietly waiting on my top bunk for a shaft of light to beam through the ceiling that was a few feet from my face. Instead… a thought came to me and I mouthed it out loud as to engrave it in my memory bank a little more clearly.
“You are going to be like the prophet Hosea… whose wife left him and he loved her so much he would continue to find her and bring her back.”
I lay there wondering where this thought came from. Was it just my mind coming up with a random thought trying to prove to myself He was really out there? As a child of around 10 or 11 I was familiar with many bible stories like that of Noah’s Ark, Moses parting the Red Sea, Sampson and Delilah, etc. But I’d never heard of Hosea.
Maybe… I was stretching. Why would God want to talk to me anyway? I was just some kid who liked to shoot bottles with my BB gun and read Archie comics. I wasn’t a prophet in the bible… that kind of stuff doesn’t happen these days.
I finished my pursuit of The Almighty that night and turned to my side and went to sleep.
The next day I was sitting in my mother’s room talking to her about something. I can’t remember what. She was putting on her make-up.
Then I remembered the previous night’s “random thought” I’d had while praying for a sign. My mother was (and still is) a bible connoisseur, a righteous woman worthy of sainthood, a person familiar with all the stories in the bible as I’m sure she’s read the book from cover to cover several times.
“Mom… is there a story in the bible about a guy whose wife left him and he continued to go after her?” I asked. I phrased the question this way because I wanted my mom to say the name “Hosea” as proof that maybe… just maybe… my thought wasn’t as random as I had thought.
Without knowing what had happened to me last night or that this moment would perhaps be one of the more defining moments of my life I continue to fall back on time and time again through my adult life she said, “Why yes, that’s the story of Hosea. There’s a book in the bible about him.”
I was sitting Indian style on the floor and dug my heels into the carpet as I processed the information my mother had just told me. Without knowing the implications that this revelation would resonate through my life as I continued to grow into a young man, a husband and a father… I simply stated, “Oookaaay.”
I proceeded to tell my mother what had happened to me last night and she very calmly assured me that this indeed probably was God “speaking” to me.
But I was confused. As a human being incapable of seeing the big picture that God sees, I interpreted God’s revelation to me that I was literally going to live the life of Hosea i.e. my wife was going to be a prostitute and I was going to have to constantly go out and rescue her (anyone who wants to know… prostitution is not Bunny’s profession).
My mom assured me that this was probably not the case. The story of Hosea itself is a story of love. Its story and its underlying message is a parallel of Gods love for us. Hosea is the physical example of God… and his wife is us. Hosea loved his wife so much he put up with all of her crap and continued to bring her back despite her constant unfailing ability to fall away again and again. He loved her unconditionally.
Are you seeing the similarities between Hosea’s story and God’s love for us?
I understood the similarity then but the seeds of my impatience had already germinated and I was DYING to know the exact meaning of my story! I couldn’t believe I had to live my life to figure out what this vision meant!
I’ve lived almost 20 years of my life since that moment and when I look at the snapshot of my life that has occurred during that time I only now am beginning to see the culmination of this vision starting to come to fruition.
The birth of Daddy’s Little Girl and the evolution of the love that has grown for my wife through my trials and tribulations has only mutated my ability to love beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.
Pieces of this untamed ability to love unconditionally were seen in blips through my young life as I couldn’t decide which pillow to take with me on vacation because I was “too afraid” to hurt the unselected pillows feelings or worry incessantly about the feelings of other peoples feelings over my own. I simply did not know how to tame the lion of love tearing from its inner sanctum… deep within my soul.
As I have just crested over the age of 30… I’m only now starting to uncover the tip of the giant iceberg of understanding love and how to use it… or “tame” it if you will. I have so much more to learn… so much more to experience… and so much more to love.
If I am to be an example of Christ’s love for His people… then I am to love unconditionally. I am failing at it miserably because I am inherently human. But I want to start by letting all of you know… that I love you. I may not even know you and you may not believe me… but know that I love you because you are a child of God just as I am. I am always here to talk if you need… but can be unreachable. But get this… God is never unreachable. If you can only turn and become like children and have the faith of a child… then He might be a lot closer than you think!
I love you all for reading. Please have a Merry Christmas and don’t forget the true meaning for why we celebrate this holiday.